MLS598 Taboo FinalResearchPaper RomanticizingDrugUseinFilm TamiEikelboom

Topics: Heroin, Drug addiction, Illegal drug trade Pages: 10 (2805 words) Published: March 24, 2015


The Romanticizing of Illicit Drug Use in Film
Tami B. Eikelboom
Arizona State University
MLS 598 Topic: Inviting the Wolf in: Taboo in Texts/Visual Texts Giron

Americans have become so obsessed with celebrity culture that illicit drug use in film uses that to often portray it as glitzy and glamorous. Drug use is frequently characterized in the fashion of how it actually ensues on the street, or in whatever venue it occurs. This use of drugs has been depicted as both tempting and alluring, as well as, disgusting and corrupt. The film industry has taken this taboo and shown the highs and lows of drug use. It is apparent to some that drug, alcohol, and tobacco use is glamorized on the big screen. This causes officials of the federal government to question where the downside to substance abuse is. There is an unglamorous side to substance abuse. People have slurred speech, hangovers, and getting into trouble with the police is a big problem with substance abuse (Riechmann 19A). If movies are going to portray drug use, they should also show the bad side to substance abuse. If they were to do so, the romance with drug use on the big screen might very well become diminished. It has recently been determined "people were depicted doing drugs, drinking or smoking in 98 percent of the top movie rentals and 27 percent of the most popular songs in 1996 and 1997. Fewer than half these movie scenes and song lyrics mentioned any downside to these activities" (Riechmann 19A). The Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Department of Health and Human Services commissioned the study of 200 films and 1,000 songs (Riechmann 19A). This proves the romance that America has with drug use in the movies. The movies present drug use in a manner in which wealth and luxury are portrayed. Drug kingpins are filthy rich. They have no lack for anything of a material nature. They have expensive homes and automobiles. They have jets or helicopters. They travel and stay at luxurious places. The men have any woman they want, and women love the wealth of the men. Users get high. They enjoy the relaxation that using their drug of choice gives to them. By using drugs, they are living on the edge. They know that it is illegal, but they do it anyway. It is something they do for recreation, and they are not addicted. Cocaine is passed around like candy at parties in the movies. The drug user wears expensive clothing. He/she can afford the substance. Drugs are a life-style. They are available to the rich and the famous. The study did not come right out and say that films and music actually cause the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs by young people. According to researchers, the first step in understanding how greatly music and films influence young people in abuse of substances such as alcohol, drugs, and tobacco is to be able to ascertain the "frequency and nature of substance abuse use in entertainment media" (Riechmann 19A). The drug control policy director for the Clinton Administration is Barry McCaffrey. McCaffrey understands that using those substances is a fact of life. He does suggest, however that the consequences of such activities must also be realistically portrayed. The Motion Picture Association of America spokesperson suggested that there had not been sufficient time to review the study, but the Recording Industry Association of America claims to be assisting in the control of substance abuse by teenagers (Riechmann 19A). The concerns of drug use portrayal on the big screen have come into focus in the past few years. Some see drug use in films as the creator of a society that is more apt to abuse drugs. Others see nothing wrong with the drug use in movies. To them, drug use is a fact of life from which they can disassociate themselves, and there is no cause for alarm. Nelba Chavez is the administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services...

Cited: Anderson, Annette "Criminal justice officials watch too many movies," Indianapolis Recorder, (1995): October 28, pp. PG.
Dawsley, Kierna Mayo "Blunted," (rising use of marijuana), Vol. 27, Essence, (1996): August 1, pp. 73(5).
Lynch, Gerald W.; Blotner, Roberta. "Legalizing drugs is not the solution.," (rebuttal to America Aug. 8, 1992 article by Joseph P. Kane), (Cover Story), America, (1993): Feb 13, v168, n5 pp. 7(3).
Mohs, Mary E.; Ross, Ronald; Leonard-Green, Tina. "Nutritional effects of marijuana, heroin, cocaine and nicotine.," Journal of the American Dietetic Association, (1990): Sept., v90 n9, pp. 1261(7).
Riechmann, Deb (Associated Press), "Study faults drug, alcohol messages: Songs, movies don 't expose youths to drawbacks enough, government says," The Dallas Morning News, (1999): April 29, pp. 19A.
Riechmann, Deb (Associated Press), Study: Drugs, Liquor, Tobacco Shown in Most of Top Movies," The Columbian, (1999): April 28, pp. World/Nati.
Sobieraj, Sandra (Associated Press), Clinton to Hollywood: Tone Down the Violence," The Columbian, (1999): May 16, pp. World/Nati.
Sullum, Jacob "Hep-Cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams: A History of America 's Romance with Illegal Drugs," (book reviews), Vol. 29, Reason, (1997): July 1, pp. 60(5).
OTHER SOURCES
Anonymous "HBO movie 'Rebound ' tells story of Harlem street basketball player Earl 'The Goat ' Manigault," Jet, (1996): November 18, v91 n1 pp
Frankel, David "Beth B." (artist), (Crosby Street Project, Anthology Film Archives), Artforum, (1996): March, v34 n7 pp. 99(1).
Melton, Marissa "Reefer redux?" (director Stephen Gyllenhaal discusses his film 'Homegrown, ' which depicts the marijuana growing business), (Brief Article), (Interview), U.S. News &World Report, (1998): May 11, v124 n18 pp. 13(1).
Sharkey, Betsy "Movies with a backbeat: Lindy DeKoven 's made-for-TV movies on NBC speak to young people in their own language," MEDIAWEEK, (1997): February 3, v7 n5 pp. 14(3).
Smith, Ethan "Sheryl Crow kicks back," New York, (1998): September 14, v31 n35 pp. 86(3).
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Taboo words Essay
  • Taboo Essay
  • Taboo Essay
  • Taboos Research Paper
  • Taboo Essay
  • Taboo Essay
  • On the Incest Taboo Essay
  • Incest Taboo Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free
Nose Clipper Ear Machine Hair Trimmer Beard Men Kit Grooming Shaving Cutting New | Chính Các Thiết Bị | Dotty Fish Baby Toddler Infant Knitted Legging Small 6M+ Medium 12M+ Large 24M+